One In 12 People Regret Becoming Parents – Research Reveals

Admitting that you regret having children is still one the biggest parenting taboos in society, but a new survey reveals that it’s more common than we think.


Data from UK’s YouGov shows that although the vast majority of parents (83 per cent) say they have never felt regret about starting a family, eight per cent say they regret it, while another six per cent previously had regrets but don’t now.

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YouGov surveyed 1,249 parents and found that not all who regret the decision to become a parent feel the same way forever. One in seven regretted having children at some point in their lives, compared to one in 12 who said they still regret it. 


Younger parents are more likely to feel regret at some point in their lives, with the figure rising to one in five among parents aged between 25 and 34.
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Older parents aged 55 and over, whose children are likely adults now themselves, feel the least regret among those surveyed. Only one in 10 were unhappy with their decision to have children (six per cent) or questioned it in the past (four per cent).
Among parents who say they still regret having children, five per cent say it’s to a small extent and for just one per cent, they regret the decision to a large extent. The remaining two per cent said their regret was to a moderate degree.
Those who said they were previously unhappy with being a parent showed a similar pattern, with five per cent saying their regrets were minor and one per cent saying they regretted their decision to a moderate degree.

Cheerful family at home sitting on sofa listening to daughter.

Only four per cent of parents said they would not have had children if they could do it all again – the same percentage as those who said they would have had fewer children.
While the majority of the survey’s respondents said they would have the same number of children if they were to do parenthood all over again, three in 10 (29 per cent) said they wish they had more children.
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The data indicates that the desire for more children is stronger among younger parents, with a third of parents aged 25 to 49 (32 per cent) wishing they had a larger family.
Parents in the oldest age group of over-65s were the least likely to say they wish they’d had more children.
There was also a marked difference between genders in this respect. A third of mothers (32 per cent) wished they’d had more kids, compared to one in four (24 per cent) of fathers.

Photo Credit: Getty

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